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Elbridge Gerry

Elbridge Gerry (July 17, 1744 - November 23, 1814) was an American politician. He was the fifth Vice President of the United States of America, serving from March 4, 1813 until his death. He was the second Vice President to die in office.

He was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, he later became governor of Massachusetts. He is most famous for being the namesake of the art of gerrymandering - a process by which congressional or other districts are arranged with the aim of aiding the party in power.

Born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, the third of twelve children. He was a graduate of Harvard, attending there from age fourteen. He worked in his fathers business and came to prominence over is opposition to commerce taxes. He was elected to the General Court of the province of Massachusetts in May 1772 on a anti-British platform. He was the Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress from February 1776 to September 1785. He was in Congress until 1785 and from 1789-93. In 1797-98 he was in the delegation to France over the XYZ Affair. In 1810 he was elected governor of Massachusetts, he was re-elected in 1811 but defeated in 1812 over his support for the redistricting bill that created the word gerrymander. Despite this he was chosen as vice president to James Madison. He died in office.